Friday, 31 July 2015

Dear Mr Cameron...

A letter has been written to the Prime Minister by environment and conservation groups representing millions of people to register their “major concern” at the cancellation or weakening of 10 green polices since he was re-elected.

The letter has been signed by the heads of ten organizations, including Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trusts.

and read Adam Vaughan's article in the Guardian here.

Monday, 27 July 2015


25 JULY 2015
Yes, it was July, despite the fact that we were all wearing winter gear! The weather did clear but the East Anglian ‘lazy wind’ stayed for the whole visit. (According to my Norfolk grandfather, ‘Tha’s lazy ‘cause it don’t go round you. It just go through you.’) Nevertheless there were breaks from the wind in the lee of the embankments and shelter between the banks of wonderful, whispering, green reeds and rushes. I felt it was a more thought provoking outing than our usual meetings as we did have the chance to discuss conflicting views of LWT fenland management whilst we probably learned more about what we did not see than what we did see.
Our erudite and philosophical guide, John Oliver, had a huge bag from which he produced - in the style of a magician - animal skulls, bird’s feet and owl pellets to illustrate his statistics of what had been seen during the year. The second skull in from the left, just past the fox, shows the huge ridge on a badger’s skull that gives an anchorage point for its strong jaw muscles. John was having to balance the ‘wildlife management’ of the fen with the long established agricultural opinion of some local farm workers who remembered   the area as one that had produced arable crops. There were also 37 badges in 5 setts on site, again these creatures – with their cuddly image - are not popular with everyone.
Our gentle two hour stroll took us past the eponymous Willow Tree of the Fen. This huge hollow tree had been reduced in size with sections of its trunk being made into seats for use in the outdoor education area. Here school children are being encouraged to collect and identify specimens of wildlife, have a camp fire and learn about how their ancestors made best use of this wetland area. We reached a ‘bird seed’ flower field and were encouraged by John to walk into the waist-high crop of Fat hen, Redshank, Cornflower, Field marigold and Phacelia to enable us to be aware of the plethora of insects in all their stages that live on these plants. On our return to the visitors’ centre we saw from a large poo that badgers eat cherries and had a good view of all Willow Tree fen from the embankment of the river Glen.

The site is not well signed but it is worth a visit. I think we should go again in a couple of years in the winter time to see the waders from the hides where the views will have been cleared of reeds and rushes. Well done LWT for taking on Willow Tree Fen and for appointing such an excellent manager/warden/presenter. RW

National Marine Week

25th July - 9th August 2015
Summer is simply not complete without a visit to the coast...
so why not head down to the shore and join us in celebrating UK marine life?
This year we're championing dolphins - did you know that several species of dolphin
can be spotted from our shores? Take a cliff-top walk, watch sea birds soar and
see what else you might spot as you soak up the sounds of the lapping seas. 
National Marine Week (25 July - 9 Aug) offers endless opportunities to day-trippers
and holiday-makers keen to discover dolphin delights, whilst savouring our shorelines.
The first rule of dolphin-watching is to be patient! 
It’s best on a calm day, keeping the sun behind you to avoid the glare from the sea. 
A disturbance of the water’s surface is often the first sign but look out for large flocks
of excited seabirds gathering overhead too; a sure sign there are plenty of fish about. 
If you're keen to learn more about our incredible Ocean Giants,
please visit our campaign page.

What's On?
Check out the events your local Trust is running here or visit your local Trust's webpage.

Can't make it to the coast?
Join us in spirit by following our Living Seas blog or keeping up to date on Twitter.

Share your sightings and coastal adventures with us @action4ourseas

Friday, 24 July 2015


8 members of the LWT were among 12 members of the Louth U3A Fauna, Flora and Ornithology group who visited RIMAC last Wednesday.
As a group we are often very fortunate to meet enthusiastic and knowledgeable wildlife experts. Today was no exception. John Walker, the retired RIMAC warden, not only had the above attributes but he also had charisma and a wonderful way of telling the story of this area of saltmarsh, freshwater marsh and sand dunes. We learned about the history of the people who collected the salt and how the geography of the large area had changed in the last 2,000 years. 
I have visited RIMAC many times and have read lots about it but did not know that the small pools in the middle of the freshwater marsh had been caused by WWII Home Guard soldiers using the area for hand-grenade practice!

John took us through the fence to see the relatively rare Natterjack toads that breed in the dark spaces adjacent to the shallow pools. He found one and showed us the distinctive yellow stripes that identifies this species. Jane thought it was prettier than the Common toad – maybe she was looking for a prince!
The orchids were just about finished but we did see Marsh hellebores together with a beautiful soft green Burdock. I had not noticed Pignut before whilst Dennis became aware of the magnificent, spherical seed head of Goat’s-beard. The Knapweed was emerging and proving popular with the six spot Burnet moth.  The Ragwort was in full flower often accompanied by the striped larva of the Cinnabar moth which feeds solely on this species. 
A couple of hours passed very quickly; even though we were glad of our waterproofs for much of the time. 
Ray W FFOer in Chief 22 July 2015

Sunday, 19 July 2015


Willow Tree Fen has been transformed from arable land to a more traditional fenland landscape of shallow meres, seasonally flooded pastures, hay meadows and reed beds. There will be a host of birds and a good array of wild flowers and if we have a sunny day we should see butterflies
We will meet at 11.00 pm on Saturday 25 July at the car park adjacent to the main entrance to this recently opened LWT siteJohn Oliver the S E Lincs Warden will take us round the reserve and his tour will last about a couple of hours.
The main path around the site is a hard surface farm track whilst the other paths are mown grass. There are toilets at the car park but no refreshment facilities so it may be a good idea to take a packed lunch and certainly something to drink.

I have taken the instructions, shown below, from the LWT website.
Willow Tree Fen is situated between Baston and Spalding on the road that connects the small hamlets of Tongue End and Pode Hole. The reserve can be seen on the north side of the road, midway between the two hamlets. The entrance is opposite Bank House Farm, from here take the small bridge over the Counter Drain and follow the track down to the buildings. There is a small car park. Please scroll down to see the Google Map. The grid reference is TF181213.
Do not follow your Satnav to get to the nature reserve – it will take you down a very rough track. There is no access to the northern part of Willow Tree Fen from the A151 or West Pinchbeck.

·         I hope that by now you will have seen the summer copy of LWT Lapwings magazine together with the LAG newsletter.
·         The newsletter contains one or two suggestions that you may care to follow during the school holidays. I have just read of another activity which could be very interesting and useful for all ages. This is the Big Butterfly Count, a project designed to locate and plot the density of the many beautiful lepidopterans that we have in the UK. Just go to for all the details. You could concentrate on the buddleias in your garden or the stinging nettles in the local hedgerow or spread your scope to any place that you visit.